by Simon Daish
Jules Rolland and Lucie Gauthier proved to be the successful pairing in the Junior Mixed Doubles event, as the French duo defied the odds to defeat Russia’s Denis Ivonin and Mariia Tailakova in the final.
On paper the contest favoured the Russian team, who entered the tie as the number three seeds while the French combination held 13th position on the seeding list. However, it was Jules Rolland and Lucie Gauthier who came through the match with smiles on their faces.
Following the conclusion of the opening three games it was the pairing of Denis Ivonin and Mariia Tailakova who held the early advantage, and the Russians had multiple opportunities to finish the tie off and claim the title. But Jules Rolland and Lucie Gauthier kept up the fight and sealed the gold medal finish after registering back-to-back game victories in dramatic style (11-4, 7-11, 9-11, 14-12, 11-9).
“It was a very close match. We faced three match balls in the decisive game, but I think we were stronger mentally. We had more belief that we could win”, Jules Rolland.
There was to be no fairy tale ending for Vladislav Makarov and Natalia Malinina in the Cadet Mixed Doubles final, as the top seeded pairing of Vladimir Sidorenko and Ekaterina Zironova lifted the trophy.
17th seeds Vladislav Makarov and Natalia Malinina continued to impress in Guimarães beating the German partnership of Daniel Rinderer and Anastasia Bondareva in the semi-finals (17-15, 11-6, 11-8), having eliminated the third seeded combination of Hungary’s Csaba Andras and Romania’s Elena-Adriana Zaharia in the previous round.
However, Vladislav Makarov and Natalia Malinina missed out on achieving a dream title win as Vladimir Sidorenko and Ekaterina Zironova powered to a straight games triumph (11-4, 11-4, 12-10).
“We were confident, but in the third game we realised we were so close to the gold. We started to struggle a little, but we soon rebuilt our confidence to seal the match. Ekaterina played perfectly at that point”, Vladimir Sidorenko.
Stag 2017 European Youth Championships: Results – Saturday 22nd July